Pro sports and the pandemic

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by jumpkutz, May 9, 2020.

  1. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    Louisville, KY
    In light of the Deutscher Fußball-Bund to restart the Bundesliga next Saturday, it seems appropriate to begin a dialogue on the professional sports landscape in general during this scourge. To my knowledge, the only live sports available throughout (with a relatively brief interruption at the outset, if memory serves) is horse racing. You can find a horse race somewhere TV without too much effort. I heard somewhere that Russian table tennis is also available, although I have yet to confirm that.
    At any rate, a brief update from pony land. The Commonwealth of Kentucky and Churchill Downs came to an agreement on conditions to resume live racing next Saturday, May 16th. No spectators, of course, as has been the case with the tracks that remained open during most of this time. The backside, the stable area at the track, opens Monday morning bright and early (May 11th) under very strict conditions. I doubt we'll even be allowed back there to document this newsworthy event visually. Masks on all humans, temperature checks into and out of the empoundment, limited access. Even owners may not be allowed in to see their multi-thousand or million dollar "investments." I know of at least one Downs based trainer still in New Orleans with his entire stable of 34 since The Fairgrounds meet ended March 31st. They're heading back early Sunday morning in a caravan with the entire stable. The irony of this scenario is that in a normal year, post Derby, you could probably allow spectators at Churchill with strict distancing rules in place because of the massive size of the clubhouse and grandstands and the significantly reduced number of patrons. But that's not gonna fly, medically or politically, so we'll see what unfolds. Online betting, which is up A LOT, will at least help the horsemen, jockeys and track staff pay some bills and keep some more folks employed. But that won't help the concessionaires, the printers (race programs and betting tips sheets), parking, hospitality and pari mutuel clerks much.
    The abbreviated spring meet runs until June 27th, with racing only four days a week, Thursday through Sunday, with a special Memorial Day card on Monday, May 25th. If you're desperate for any live sports fix you can find, you could do worse than an afternoon of several hours of live horse racing under the Twin Spires. At least it'll be scenic. Of note is the Grade III Matt Winn Stakes (named after the track's founder) on Saturday, May 23rd for three year olds. It's been added as an extension of the Road To The Kentucky Derby, and will offer qualifying points for the rescheduled Sept. 5th spectacle. There should be one or two more races during the meet designated as such.
    Or you could try to find the Russian ping pong channel.
    MicahMan likes this.
  2. MicahMan

    MicahMan Administrator

    Mar 4, 2014
    Does UFC count? They've been having events too. I'm not a fan, but have heard their ads.

    After reading the NY Times article that you posted Jump, I couldn't help but wonder if something that will define successful teams (in any sport) over the next year is their ability to get their players to strictly adhere to self-imposed quarantines. One player goes out, has a night on the town, gets coronavirus, brings it back to the club, and then suddenly they are having to put out their U-18's or minor league squad or simply forfeit because they can't field a team.

    And will there be any European play? What Bundesliga club would want to go up against an Allsvenskan team? Germany has tried very hard to keep coronavirus under wraps while Sweden has been "meh" and is looking to start their league in June WITH CROWDS!
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
  3. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Mar 18, 2006
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    ESPN is now showing Korean baseball.

    Long term -- things are grim. There's not going to be a lot of spending once things go back to normal. Spending for team and league sponsorship will dry up, and if professional teams and leagues have to depend on ticket sales, there's no way you can pay current salaries.
    State and local tax breaks will pretty much dry up as well.
    I saw an article on the Canadian Football League likely disbanding entirely.

    Here's what I see happening: minor league baseball disappears, both men and women's professional soccer leagues -- including MLS -- will be terminated. I see several NBA, NFL, and MLB franchises declaring bankruptcy with players redistributed.

    There are those, I am sure, who will say I'm going overboard, but it could take the better part of a generation for the economy to recover from 2020 -- if it recovers at all.
  4. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    Louisville, KY
    You're probably right about some of those scenarios Don. It will take some segments of the economy longer to recover than others. But I'm not so sure about a dearth of spending, unless there's a second or third wave of COVID-19 that some are predicting. There will be a "pent up demand" for some things, not so much for others. If all the major sports resume with a prolonged period of empty seats, that, theoretically, should mean increased TV viewership. If that's the only way to see your team, that's what you'll do. While ticket revenue is big, television rights money is even bigger, WAY bigger. An NFL team earned an average of $7 million per stadium event in 2016 (not all were football games). According to the Packers' 2018 annual report (they're the only public entity among NFL ownership), the league made over $8.1 billion in TV money, divided by 32 teams ($255 million apiece). It's pretty much the same story for the rest of the major sports, both here and abroad. The real money comes from TV rights.
    HatterDon likes this.
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